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Bronze Age arrowhead made of meteoritic iron identified by study

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A study of archaeological collections from the greater area of Lake Biel in Switzerland has revealed that a Bronze Age arrowhead housed in the Bern History Museum was made from IAB meteoritic iron.

The arrowhead was found during a 19th century excavation of a stilt house settlement at Mörigen in the canton of Bern. The settlement dates from around 900 to 800 BC and was inhabited by people from the Urnfield culture, a late Bronze Age culture of Central Europe.

The site was discovered in 1843 after water levels in Lake Biel dropped. This resulted in amateur excavations taking artefacts out of situ which were placed in private collections.

In 1873, the Bernese government took decisive action to protect the site, by prohibiting private excavations and commissioned a research team to conduct a detailed survey led by Edward Jenner and Edmund Fellberg. The archaeologists found a settlement covering 190 by 120 metres, containing evidence of buildings and bridges, and numerous Bronze Age artefacts.

In a study published in the journal Science Directs, researchers using gamma spectrometry, X-ray fluorescence, and a Muon Induced X-ray Emission (MIXE) analysis, have revealed that the arrowhead from the Mörigen settlement was made from IAB meteoritic iron.

The results of the analysis indicate that the arrowhead is partly made of Aluminium-26 (26Al, Al-26), a radioactive isotope only found naturally in extraterrestrial objects. In addition to the typical meteoritic elements Fe, Ni, Co, Ga and Ge (Cr < 52 ppm, average detection limit), they also found relatively high concentrations of As and Cu, not typical of iron meteorites.

By comparing the chemical composition, the team suggest that the arrowhead’s material was sourced from the Kaalijarv meteorite, an impact event that occurred around 1,500 BC in Estonia and produced many small fragments.

The researchers also suggest that the arrowhead could indicate a network of trade in iron meteorites by 800 BC (or earlier) in Central Europe, which may have been traded over the same routes from the Baltic area as amber.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2023.105827

Header Image Credit : Science Directs

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Archaeology

Archaeologists discover traces of Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia

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Archaeologists from ARKIKUS have announced the discovery of a Roman circus at Iruña-Veleia, a former Roman town in Hispania, now located in the province of Álava, Basque Autonomous Community, Spain.

The town was an important transit centre on the Ab Asturica Burdigalam (Roman road), with a peak population of around 10,000 inhabitants.

In a recent study using aerial photography and light detection and ranging (LiDAR), archaeologists have found a Roman circus and previously unknown urban areas of Iruña-Veleia.

A Roman circus was a large open-air venue used mainly for chariot races, although sometimes serving other purposes. Chariot racing was the most popular of many subsidised public entertainments, and was an essential component in several religious festivals.

Image Credit : Shutterstock

Chariot racing declined in significance in the Western Roman Empire following the fall of Rome, with the last known race held at the Circus Maximus in AD 549, organised by the Ostrogothic king, Totila.

According to a press statement by ARKIKUS, the circus is an elongated enclosure that accommodated up to 5,000 spectators, and measures 280 metres long by 72 metres wide.

Until now, only a handful of Roman circus’s are known in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, emphasising the importance of Iruña-Veleia during the Roman period.

The study also revealed a Roman street system, evidence of buildings with porticoed areas, and a linear feature indicating the route of the Ab Asturica Burdigalam.

Header Image Credit : ARKIKUS

Sources : ARKIKUS

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Archaeologists make new discoveries at Bodbury Ring hillfort

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Bodbury Ring is a univallate hillfort, strategically located at the southern tip of Bodbury Hill in Shropshire, England.

Hillforts in Britain are known from the Bronze Age, but the main period of hillfort construction occurred during the Celtic Iron Age.

Hillfort fortifications follow the contours of a hill and consist of one or more lines of earthworks or stone ramparts, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches.

Archaeologists from Time Team and the Universities of Chester and York, recently conducted a study of Bodbury Ring using light detection and ranging (LiDAR).

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is a remote sensing technique that employs pulsed laser light to measure distances to the Earth. By analysing variations in the return times and wavelengths of the laser pulses, this method can generate a detailed 3-D digital map of the landscape.

The study has revealed that Bodbury Ring is six times larger than previously thought and is part of a much larger hillfort which enclosed the entirety of the ridgetop on Bodbury Hill. This larger hillfort shares some characteristics with examples known to have originated in the Late Bronze Age.

Professor Ainsworth from Time Team said: “The earthworks of Bodbury Ring, it seems, were constructed to form a small, more easily defended fort at the southern tip of the original hillfort, possibly in the Middle Iron Age.”

“This prehistoric ‘downsizing’ may have resulted from increased tension in the region, reflecting possible changes in the geopolitical landscape of the times. Close by, on the northern side of Bodbury Hill, the remains of a probable Roman Iron Age enclosed settlement have also been identified for the first time,” added Professor Ainsworth.

Header Image Credit : University of Chester

Sources : University of Chester

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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